Roc Nation’s man of the moment J. Cole covers the latest issue of Rolling Out Magazine. Inside, he chats it up about his first encounter with Jay-Z, his rumored sex tape with Rihanna and what he learned while playing high school basketball.
Check out a few excerpts from the interview below:
On his first encounter with Jay-Z
I heard that Jay-Z was recording the American Gangster album. That same night, I made two beats and I thought it would be perfect for Jay-Z. I went to the studio where Jay-Z was recording and I waited outside for three hours. His Phantom finally pulled up. I was super timid and shy. I had the CD in my hand and I tried to hand it to Jay-Z. He looked at it and said, ‘What is this? I don’t want that. Give it to one of those other guys.’ It was crushing. That was another moment. But I snapped back to reality. I knew after that, I had to go harder. That type of rejection fuels me. I believe that greatness is fueled by rejection. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team; Jay-Z had trouble getting a record deal before Reasonable Doubt; and no one wanted to sign Kanye West as a rapper.
On meeting Jay-Z a year later
One year later, Jay-Z heard a song through Mark Pitts. Jay called me for a meeting. It was a three-hour meeting and I played my music [for] him. We talked about President Obama and other things. Five weeks later, he offered me a record deal.
On trying to purse a career in Basketball
I tried out for the basketball team as freshman and I got cut. My cousin played ball and told me to become the team’s manager, get in good with the coach and learn the system. So I swallowed my pride and I became the team’s manager. I figured that I would make the team the next year just because I was the team’s manager. But I got cut the very next year. The average person would have [given] up after getting cut twice. The next summer before my junior year, I played one-on-one with the best player on the team and worked hard on my game. I finally made the team and I was starting my senior year. If it wasn’t for that rejection in basketball, I’m not sure if I would have had what it takes to make it in rap.
On a rumored sex tape with Rihanna
Gossip is foreign to me. By nature, I don’t like gossip. I never was on the gossip sites. Now being on the other side, it’s annoying. A lot of people don’t know the difference between gossip and reality. They may think that you have a sex tape with Rihanna, or [that] you’re having sex with Solange because of what someone made up. But I guess it’s just something that comes with the territory.
Is J. Cole the heir to ‘the throne’ as the cover suggests?